A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

terça-feira, junho 04, 2002

And more and more and more...

I have just read your Open Forum column in today's San Francisco Chronicle "Why immigrants don't cheer for the U.S. soccer team".

In your sixth paragraph you say "That is, by rooting for their home countries - or rooting against the United States - immigrants have an outlet to express both frustration with their new home and pride in their old country".

As an English ex pat I take great exception to this quote. I love America but will always support England first and foremost and not because I am frustrated with this country. Soccer is one of England's national sports, indeed we are practically raised on it, and just because I left the country does not mean that my support was left behind too. Despite America having a national soccer team, the country is generally well known around the world for not really supporting the game (as evidenced in part by the lack of coverage by American tv stations this year and all previous world cup years) and only became slightly interested when the country hosted the games back in 1998. Although the time difference is a big issue this year as far as tv coverage goes (a factor that has not deterred the Spanish tv stations from airing the games live thank God) most fans will rise early to watch their favorite teams play the game as it happens. The only way the American public as a whole will show interest in their team this year is if their team advances to the quarter-finals. It is well known that Americans only support winners in every field of competition and so their support will most probably be short lived for their team this year. However soccer fans around the world support their teams for lots of reasons and through the good times and the bad. If the American team needs support it should look to its own people for that, not immigrants. National pride should exist in their team even if they don't win but you won't get Americans cheering for "their boys" as they only support winners.

To suggest that any fan who supports another team other than America because of political reasons and frustration with this country is pure poppycock and just shows that you do not know what you are really talking about. Most countries around the world have always been passionate about soccer and the world cup and this will not change. Apart from any other reason, there is much skill in the game which is something that American football lacks.

Finally, it would have been nice if you had pointed out to your American and immigrant readers that at least four American players play for English soccer teams. Does this mean that those players are frustrated with their country and for political reasons are traitors too. I don't think so.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. If I didn’t explain the particular passion that the national team inspires in immigrants such as yourself in non-political terms, then that is my folly. That said, don’t you think that rooting against the American squad is a form of politics itself for some immigrants? As my examples showed, yes. I took a look at soccer through a sociopolitical perspective that sees sports teams as signifying much more than the mere sports they play. Soccer, especially, is a highly politicized sport (which I’m sure I don’t have to mention to you) which is ripe for the venting of frustration. And in this country, where not all immigrants are better off than others, some will view booing against the American squad as a method of letting off the steam. This was the crux of my article. Thank you once again for your comments.
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Do you just make this stuff up? I mean, "a fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason."
Really? No, despite your effort to grab a reader with contoversy and conflict, most "nonimmigrant Americans" could not care less about the World Cup or who roots for what nation's team.

You see, for most of the world, the World Cup offers a moment's respite from their dismal living conditions and lack of economic progress.

In America, complain as some do, our economic success allows us to focus on our own lives instead of living through World Cup fantasies. I will, for instance, spend my leisure time for the next month as I do throughout the year, with my family.

I know it's hard to be focused on accuracy in a screaming media world, but you should try recording fact instead of hyperbole.

My response...

I notice in your email that you are from Indiana and as such are probably unaware of the rhetoric that has been going on in Los Angeles (where I live) where the Gold Cup game that I mentioned in my article is still brought up by non-soccer fans 4 years later as the ultimate proof that Mexicans can never assimilate into this nation. Perhaps you don’t see it as such, but many other Americans do—and despise those immigrants that do cheer for their countries. Thank you for your remarks.
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Something nice for a change...

i like your columns!

today's column on soccer made me think of a korean immigrant friend
who's been visiting seoul and watching the games over there. he was
so elated over senegal's victory over france that i wrote him that it
shows that the davids of the world should always have hope against
the goliaths, and he responded:

Yes,!!^^ that's why and how I can live among numorous Golliaths.
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But back to the attacks...

Interesting article on soccer and immigrants. In it, you write:

"Few of these immigrants will be cheering for the United States -- a
fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason."

Apart from the necessarily vague "few" and "many" (just how few? just
how many?), IMHO you grossly overstate the reaction of us native-born
Americans to immigrants' cheering for their home countries. One
quotation from a frustrated U.S. soccer player and another from Pat
Buchanan hardly comprises a representative sample of mainstream American opinion. In truth, most of us don't give a rat's ass who wins the World Cup; and if the busboy in the local diner chooses to root for Mexico over the United States, we could care less. Tantamount to treason? Get real!

My response...

Thank you for your comments, although I do disagree with them. While I agree with you that most Americans are probably unaware that the Cup is being played, I'll wager that most would not be happy knowing that immigrants are cheering against the States. And judging by the slew of emails I have received that have spelled that out in much more profane terms, I'm certain. Thank you once again.

This one's an instant classic...

I just read your diatribe in the S.F. Chronicle which loves printing articles and commentaries relating to perceived ethnic injustice. As an alum of UCLA, you provide me with yet another reason not to donate to my alma mater.

What exactly was the point of your commentary besides America bashing. The last time I checked Mexico treats illegal immigrants far worse than does the United States and South Korea only recently emerged from dictatorship. Iran is an Islamic totalitarian society which views human rights with contempt and supports terrorism.

I realize that your actual major is in victimization, but please stop comparing the United States to some fantasy utopia propogated by your Marxist professors, and start comparing our nation to the rest of the world. We stack up pretty favorably to your poor victim-states of South Korea, Mexico, and Iran.

Grow up, get a job, and stop wasting my tax dollars.
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Tax Payer,

Thank you for your own diatribe. I am happily employed, thank you very much, antagonizing people such as you who can only see the world through red, white, and blue-tinted eyeglasses. I am not the American-basher you make me out to be; indeed, I live up to the American spirit of having a healthy dose of skepticism to a country I love. But because I dare criticize it, I am immediately spat upon by the likes of you.

Go Bruins!

Consumer of Your Tax Dollars